As part of your visa application you may need to pay a healthcare charge, called the ‘immigration health surcharge’ (IHS), to the health services in the UK.
You will need to pay the charge and be assigned a IHS reference number before you apply for a visa; your visa application form will not be processed without it.
Some nationals may be exempt from the charge, but will still need to be assigned a IHS reference number.
If you are a non-EEA national applying for immigration permission to work, study or join family in the UK for more than 6 months you will need to pay the health surcharge and obtain a IHS reference number.
If you are British Overseas Territory citizen who lives in the Falkland Islands or a national of Australia or New Zealand you are exempt from the surcharge, but you must still obtain a IHS reference number.
If you are applying for a visitor visa, or indefinite leave to remain you do not need to pay the surcharge or have a IHS reference number. However, if you obtain a visitor visa you may be liable to pay for some types of NHS treatment.
You must make the payment before you submit or send your visa or immigration application; you can find out how to pay on the government website.
Once payment has been made you will receive an IHS reference number for your visa application. Your visa will not be granted if you do not have a reference number.
Once paid you will then be able to use the NHS, however, you will still need to pay for certain types of services, for example, prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests.
The health surcharge will be £200 per year and £150 per year for students, payable upfront (2016).
Dependents will generally pay the same amount as the main applicant.
The exact amount you have to pay depends on how much leave you’re granted. You can calculate how much you will have to pay on the government website.
For more information on the NHS see the health section of this website.